Croatia has a social health insurance system where citizens are expected to contribute according to their ability to pay and receive basic health care services according to their needs. The Croatian Health Insurance Fund (Hrvatski zavod za zdravstveno osiguranje − HZZO) is the sole insurer in the mandatory health insurance system, which provides universal health insurance coverage to the whole population. As the main purchaser of health services, the HZZO plays a key role in the definition and price setting of basic health services covered under statutory insurance and the establishment of performance standards.
The Croatian healthcare system includes both public and private healthcare services. Public healthcare is organized according to the county-based territorial organization at all levels and in all activities (primary and secondary health care). Only the tertiary level (clinical institutions) is formed regionally.
Right to health care for persons insured in Croatia comprises, amongst others, right to primary health care, specialist-consultative and hospital health care, medicines approved by HZZO formal list of medications, dental-aid prosthetic and replacements, orthopedic and other devices and healthcare abroad.
You can obtain medically necessary treatment by presenting the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), when you are temporarily staying in Croatia. Medically necessary treatment refers to treatment that cannot wait for your return home. You may need such treatment in case of acute illness or accident. You can also receive treatment related to pregnancy and childbirth or to a chronic illness. The need for treatment must emerge during the course of your stay. If your illness requires regular treatment while you are temporarily staying abroad, agree with the treatment provider beforehand on the arrangement of treatment. Treatments that need to be arranged in advance include, for example, dialysis, oxygen therapy, specialised care of asthma and chemotherapy as well as echocardiography in chronic autoimmune diseases.
You will receive treatment on the same terms and at the same price as the locals. It is advisable to carry copies of your European Health Insurance Card with you, along with the card itself. If you didn’t have your EHIC with you or it was not accepted, and you were required to pay all the costs of treatment yourself, you might be able to apply for reimbursement from Kela retrospectively.
Medical services are provided by both public and private health care providers. Private healthcare services, that have a contract with the Croatian Health Insurance Fund have the same costs as public healthcare. However, for healthcare services that are not under such a contract you are as a patient liable to pay for the full cost of any care you receive. Each provider within the public system is marked with a special mark (label) which specifies that the provider is contracting partner of the HZZO. The Contact Point of Croatia’s website has a list of healthcare service providers that are part of Croatia’s public healthcare system and that cooperate with the country´s Health Insurance Fund.
In larger localities, tourists are generally referred to a health centre (dom zdravlja). Each municipality has its own health centre responsible for providing basic health care. By presenting your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) you should receive the needed care for the price of co-payment. Tourists are referred, if necessary, to the nearest hospital (bolnica) in larger towns.
There are English-speaking doctors and pharmacists in all the tourist areas. Medical care for tourists during the season is known as “turistička ambulanta”. It is important to bear in mind that “turistička ambulanta” is established only during tourist season, and so far they don’t have contract with health insurance fund, which means that you have to pay for the care yourself.
Doctor and Dentist
Choose a doctor or a dentist who has an agreement with HZZO. Present your European Health Insurance Card at the appointment. A referral is usually required in Croatia to consult a specialist. Treatment by a physician is free of charge. Emergency dental treatment is free of charge as well. A client fee is always charged for a visit, however.
You can obtain medication prescribed by a primary care doctor from a pharmacy (ljekarna) that has a contract HZZO (all pharmacies which dispense prescripton drugs have contract with HZZO). Localities in which there is a health centre have the largest number of pharmacies. The opening hours of pharmacies vary.
You can buy medicines in Croatia also with an electronic prescription that your doctor wrote in Finland. Before purchasing medication, you must give your consent in the My Kanta service to your prescription data being handed over to a pharmacy in another country. You can purchase the medication by showing your passport or official identity card in the pharmacy. Note, however, that not all medicines can be purchased with an electronic prescription abroad. Check the restrictions on the Kanta.fi website. You can claim reimbursement from Kela afterwards.
There are hospitals and specialised facilities in all the larger towns, and smaller clinics are located throughout the country. A referral from a primary care doctor is required for hospital treatment. Care is covered by health insurance if the hospital has a contract with HZZO. At the hospital, present your European Health Insurance Card. Ambulance transport in emergencies is free of charge.
If your illness requires you to use special transport when returning to Finland, you will be liable for the travel costs in their entirety. You are recommended to take out a travel insurance that covers these costs.
Read more about suddenly falling ill in Europe.
Read more about reimbursement of costs of treatment abroad.
If you wish to travel to Croatia for the purpose of using healthcare services, you can find general information on our site concerning seeking treatment abroad. Some useful sources of information are also listed below. You should direct your questions about healthcare in Croatia to the Croatian National Contact Point.
In Croatia, private healthcare service providers set their own prices. The country’s medical association sets minimum prices for private treatment, but an upper limit has not been specified. Information on prices of treatment is available on the respective websites of each service provide. It is recommended that you check the price with the service provider directly before seeking treatment.
Quality and safety of treatment
In the event of treatment injuries, the legislation and patient insurance of the country providing the treatment is always applied. In case you are unhappy with the treatment you received, you should primarily try to sort the matter out with the treatment provider. The national contact point can help you with finding the right authority if you wish to make a complaint.
Agencija za kvalitetu i akreditaciju u zdravstvu i socijalnoj skrbi publishes quality indicators for treatment on a regular basis. Hospital-specific quality data is not, however, available. The criteria for the quality and safety of treatment given by hospital and other healthcare providers are currently being determined. If necessary, you can request further information from the Contact Point for Croatia.